Coronavirus - 19 January


• Germany extends lockdown to 14 February
• EU car sales fall 23.7% YoY
• Valencia to shut all bars and restaurants
• North Korea’s trade with China down 80% in 2020
• Scotland extends lockdown to mid-February

World news

• Car sales across the European Union slumped by 23.7% last year, new data shows. Just 9.9m new vehicles were registered in 2020, down from 13m in 2019, as lockdown restrictions hammered demand. Every EU country saw double-digit sales falls in 2020, ACEA reports. Spain posted the sharpest drop (‐32.3%), followed closely by Italy (‐27.9%). Sales fell by over 25% in France, and dropped 19% in Germany.

• Research from the University of Oxford has shown parents’ stress scores were at their lowest in August and September at 11.4 points, but increased to a high of 13.2 in December, following the pre-Christmas lockdown. The researchers said higher levels of stress were detected particularly in low-income families, as well as single-parent households and those with children with special educational needs.

• Figures in the UK have revealed the backlog in the crown courts has reached 54,000 unheard cases, up from <40,000 in March.

• One in eight people in England had Covid antibodies by December, double the amount seen in October, according to ONS estimates.

• Five times as many children are now at school in England compared to last year’s lockdown

• Scotland’s Covid-19 lockdown has been extended until at least the middle of February, with most school pupils to continue learning from home.

• China is building a massive Covid-19 quarantine centre on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang city. The facility, which will be ready in a matter of days, has capacity of over 4,000.

• One in four young in the UK people have felt ‘unable to cope’ according to the Prince’s Trust’s long-running annual survey of young people.

• Okinawa, Japan has declared a state of emergency.

• A quarter of Lesotho’s population will require food aid between January and March as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.

• North Korea’s trade with China was down more than 80% last year, Chinese customs data has shown. North Korea sealed its border last January to ward off the coronavirus.

• Germany is extending its national lockdown until 14 February, with new rules making it mandatory to wear medical masks in shops and on public transport.

• The eastern Spanish region of Valencia is to shut all bars and restaurants.

• Russia’s second registered vaccine, EpiVacCorona, proved “100% effective” in early-stage Phase I and II trials, according to Russian consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

• New restrictions are being imposed across Portugal – just four days after a lockdown was introduced. New checks are being introduced on remote working and shops are having to reduce opening hours.

Company news


 HSBC – is to close 82 branches in the UK between April and September this year, saying the coronavirus pandemic has “emphasised the need for the changes”.


 Arcadia – is set to close another 31 shops. The stores, including 21 Outfit shops, will not reopen once lockdown is lifted, resulting in 700 job cuts.

 Superdry – “The continued uncertainty and disruption caused by Covid-19, including the impact from sudden and protracted store closures across our estate as a result of government restrictions, makes it more difficult than ever to forecast the outturn for the year. Consequently we recognise the material uncertainty noted in our going concern assessment, and we are not providing formal guidance at this time for FY21 or beyond . . . We anticipate: Prolonged store closures and subdued footfall in early 2021 to negatively impact revenues year-on-year, even after considering the six weeks of lockdown in late FY20. These shortfalls will be partially offset by rent waivers and furlough support.”